Before you send out a manuscript for any kind of an edit, you need to consider whether you are willing to pay the true costs of an edit.
In the past few weeks, I’ve been asked to edit several novels. For those of you who don’t know, I sometimes will edit novels for others (for a price) and try to help authors prepare them before querying agents or making a wide release.
My goal of course is to help the author become a bestseller and perhaps win awards. This means that I have to study the novel and maybe try to figure out how to broaden the audience, ramp up the tension or wonder, tweak characters, boost plot lines, make protagonists more likeable, and so on. It also requires me to give advice on how to bolster weak prose, tighten pacing, and do a host of other things.
I always approach this with a bit of trepidation. When you take on an editing job, you never quite know what you’re getting yourself into. You may have a novel that sounds great when it is summarized, but has major weaknesses.
Problems can be fixed, of course, but authors sometimes can’t be. Occasionally the author is dead-set on doing something wrong, or is hoping only for praise, not for real constructive criticism.